Offensive line woes dragging down Rams
ST. LOUIS (AP) Finding a long-term quarterback solution will be an offseason priority for the St. Louis Rams considering Sam Bradford is rehabbing from a second straight season-ending left knee injury.
They might need help at less glitzy offensive positions, too.
The Rams (6-8) were held to 69 yards rushing on 20 carries, a 3.5-yard average, on Thursday night in a 12-6 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
They were 4 for 15 on third downs, had five three-and-outs in the third quarter with 6 yards total, and twice on fourth-and-1 deep in Arizona territory elected to play it safe with chip-shot field goals.
''Yeah, we had way too many three-and-outs and no first downs for a long time,'' coach Jeff Fisher said Friday. ''We went a quarter-and-a-half without a first down offensively, so that's going to create problems for you field position-wise.''
Arizona coach Bruce Arians didn't pass up a chance to rub it in after beating a team that hasn't allowed a touchdown in three games.
It was the first time the Cardinals won on the road without a touchdown since 1935, according to STATS. They're the only team in the NFL to win without a TD this season.
''I thought that our defensive line whipped their offensive line pretty solid,'' Arians said. ''When they were making tackles behind the line of scrimmage, there was usually an offensive lineman holding onto their legs but somehow those flags never got called.''
''But we were tackling them for losses, so it didn't matter.''
Fisher was guilty of showmanship last week when he sent out players acquired in the Robert Griffin III deal for the coin toss at Washington. On Thursday, he had to take it from a coach who said after the game that Fisher's teams are ''always 8-8.''
''I told him that I hoped his quarterback was going to be OK,'' Fisher said. ''The last thing I said to him was, `Why don't you go win a couple playoff games for the division, good luck.'
''That's all I said to him. I have no comment on his comments.''
Fisher had another off-field issue to address. He met with tight end Jared Cook, who said after the game that the Rams had been ''outplayed and outcoached.''
''We discussed it, and I think if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't have gone there from the `outcoached' standpoint,'' Fisher said. ''It was kind of a one fell swoop, `Hey, we just got beat' and included it all.''
Settling for Greg Zuerlein's 19-yarder with just over six minutes remaining, after the Rams stalled at the 1, was probably a sound decision because it made it a one-score game. Benny Cunningham was stuffed for no gain on third-and-1 from the Arizona 7 in the first quarter.
Tackle Jake Long is out for the year with a knee injury. Left guard Rodger Saffold is at less than full strength with a nagging shoulder injury that will require surgery in the offseason. Center Scott Wells has been injury-prone and is wearing a brace covering his left arm, and right guard Davin Joseph, is a journeyman.
If Long hadn't been hurt, rookie Greg Robinson could have stayed at right guard while adjusting to the NFL.
''We've got to get better at it. We need to be able to line up and say, `Here we come. This is what we're running. Stop it,''' Fisher said. ''We're not there yet.''
St. Louis couldn't muster enough offense to keep its late-season surge going with a third straight win, and is assured of an 11th straight season without a winning record. Winning the last two against the Giants next Sunday and at Seattle Dec. 28 would give the franchise its first .500 season since 2004.
''I'm not going to make any significant rosters moves, or play anybody here and there. We're going to play this group throughout,'' Fisher said.
''Pretty boring, actually.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL